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Woolwork Picture of Leviathan

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During the second half of the Victorian era, the British soldier, when being conveyed to foreign shores, met with sailors and saw how they made their woolwork pictures. The same need to maintain uniforms meant that these soldiers were also skilled with needle and thread and so it was that they picked up on the idea of making woolwork pictures, initially copying the maritime output of the sailors but soon after developing their own styles with regimental honours, flags of allegiance, cannon and stacks of balls and, peculiar to the soldier, vases of flowers, often surrounded by draped curtains. Their pictures would sometimes incorporate a banner with the legend ‘Leisure Hours in India’

Offered here is a large and impressive woolwork picture titled 'Leviathan', the name synonymous with a sea monster, or 'The Great Eastern Steam Ship in 1865'. The folky nature of the work and misunderstanding of the rigging strongly suggests that this is the work of a soldier rather than a British sailor. 

The work English, mid 19th century, and within the original mahogany frame.

Conceived in 1851 by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, construction of the Great Eastern started in 1854 at John Scott-Russell’s ship building yard on the Isle of Dogs in London. Her maiden voyage did not take place until the 31st January 1859. The idea behind the Great Eastern was that she could steam virtually around the world without refuelling. The intention was that this would give the Great Eastern the commercial edge over the lucrative immigrant trade to India and Australia.

For a full article from which the above information has been taken, see The Porthcurno Telegraph Museum.  

o.s:38 in x h.29.5 in

s.s:31 in x 22.5 in 



Item Code: 624

£ 7800

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